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Oregon announces clean-up of wildfire ash and debris at no up-front cost

(Photo courtesy of Sean Roberts)

While clean-up of hazardous household waste is already well underway in areas devastated by the September fires, Oregon's Monday announcement means that full clean-up can begin.

Posted: Nov 16, 2020 11:29 AM

SALEM, Ore. —The second phase of clean-up after Oregon's devastating September fires will be offered at no cost to property owners, the Oregon Office of Emergency Management announced on Monday.

While hazardous household waste clean-up is already wrapping up in areas ravaged by the Almeda and South Obenchain fires, Monday's announcement marks the first indication that state officials have a no-cost plan to clean the ash and debris left behind.

The clean-up will include mobile home parks, second homes, businesses and other structures destroyed or damaged by the fires.

Home and business owners that opt into this government-led wildfire cleanup program will pay no upfront costs for any cleanup work, OEM said. No government agency — whether state, federal or contractor — will seek payment from any insurance policy unless it is "specifically designated for debris removal or left over after the home or business is completely rebuilt."

The no-cost cleanup is available to home and business owners in Clackamas, Douglas, Jackson, Klamath, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, and Marion counties.

“Our mission is to safely clear the ash and debris as quickly as possible, and leave Oregonians with a clean site so they can rebuild,” said Kris Strickler, director of the Oregon Department of Transportation. “This will take time, strong partnerships and a lot of hard work, but we’re already well on our way. I encourage every Oregonian who lost a home or business in the wildfires to sign a Right of Entry form with their county, if they haven’t already, to help keep this important work moving forward.”

Much like the earlier hazardous waste clean-up, property owners need to sign a Right of Entry (ROE) form to allow crews onto the property. The clean-up itself will include removal of ash and structural debris, hazard trees, concrete foundations, and burned vehicles.

"Wildfire cleanup is a two-step process," OEM said. "Step 1 is removal of household hazardous waste, which is dangerous to people, communities and the environment. This work is nearly completed in all fire-impacted counties."

Oregon is currently hiring contractors to carry out Step 2 of the clean-up, scheduled to begin in December. That step is expected to take between 6 and 18 months to finish statewide.

"The 2020 September wildfires were the largest and most expensive disaster in Oregon’s history," OEM said. "Nine Oregonians lost their lives, more than 1 million acres burned and over 5,000 homes and businesses were destroyed. The state has transitioned from immediate fire response to statewide recovery."

FEMA will be reimbursing Oregon for portions of the clean-up costs, and the state will fund what remains. Early estimates put the debris clean-up costs at more than $600 million, including $326 for ash and debris removal, and $295 million to remove hazard trees.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 65170

Reported Deaths: 820
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah14988210
Washington881596
Marion8321127
Clackamas535376
Umatilla409948
Lane382037
Jackson335623
Malheur230839
Deschutes191114
Yamhill156516
Linn126018
Polk105115
Douglas80415
Jefferson76511
Benton7097
Union6912
Klamath6854
Morrow6197
Lincoln56313
Wasco47218
Josephine4314
Columbia4223
Coos3831
Hood River3611
Clatsop3330
Baker2573
Crook1906
Grant1221
Tillamook1110
Curry1052
Lake980
Harney861
Wallowa702
Sherman230
Gilliam210
Wheeler20
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1114524

Reported Deaths: 18726
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles3645207438
San Bernardino845311129
Riverside806761400
San Diego71648968
Orange696941554
Kern38316445
Fresno35973471
Sacramento33133546
Santa Clara30676463
Alameda27485499
San Joaquin24649503
Contra Costa22412258
Stanislaus20370416
Tulare19752303
Ventura18040174
Imperial15053353
San Francisco14445158
Monterey13886113
San Mateo13203169
Sonoma11428155
Merced10986176
Santa Barbara10922133
Kings1003886
Solano934980
Marin7518128
Placer577867
Madera571480
San Luis Obispo561835
Yolo419975
Shasta409542
Santa Cruz389827
Butte366459
Napa275717
Sutter263813
El Dorado19304
San Benito174115
Yuba173210
Lassen14803
Tehama143523
Mendocino138522
Nevada10189
Lake83218
Glenn8296
Humboldt7309
Tuolumne7088
Colusa6426
Mono4993
Siskiyou4951
Amador45016
Calaveras43421
Inyo28316
Del Norte2731
Plumas1770
Trinity1130
Modoc1110
Mariposa1042
Alpine420
Sierra170
Unassigned00
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